Ex-DPP legislator seeks independence clause’s freezing

By Chen Hui-ping and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - Page 1

Former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chen Zau-nan (陳昭南) yesterday submitted a petition demanding that the party freeze the Taiwanese independence clause in its party charter in the upcoming party congress, which he said would help the DPP regain power.

The petition called for freezing the first article of the party charter, usually known as the Taiwanese independence clause, which calls for the “establishment of an independent sovereignty known as the Republic of Taiwan.”

The petition received more than 40 signatures, 20 of which came from party representatives.

Chen said he had made the same proposal in 2000, adding that Taiwan was already an independent sovereignty under the name of the Republic of China and its future should be decided by its 23 million residents.

The clause had fulfilled its purpose and the DPP has no need to further push Taiwanese independence, Chen said.

The move would improve the party and the nation, Chen said, adding that the cross-strait issue should not be an obstacle barring the DPP from returning to power and keeping the KMT in power.

DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) knew nothing of the proposal until he brought it up yesterday, Chen said, adding that although he could not advance the issue as he was not a national party representative, he would continue to push the proposal.

DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said freezing the clause would have no real meaning, adding that the Resolution on Taiwan’s Future (台灣前途決議文) had in large part superseded the Taiwanese independence clause.

DPP legislators Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) and Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) both disagreed with the proposal to freeze the clause, with Chen Chi-mai saying that the clause formed part of the basic tenet of the DPP charter and represented the values and the spirit of the party.

Lee said the clause was a precious historic article and there was no need to freeze it because the spirit of the resolution was accepted by party members and by the international community.

National Cheng Chi University professor Tung Chen-yuan (童振源), one of the petition’s drafters, said the clause had become an obstacle to the DPP, and resolving the issue depended on the determination and willingness of Tsai Ing-wen.

The clause is detrimental to Taiwan, Tung said, adding that even if the DPP were willing to implement the clause, it lacks the power to do so in the near future because ratifying the Constitution requires the support of three-quarters of the Legislative Yuan.

Freezing the clause would be a step toward unifying Taiwan’s consensus on cross-strait issues, Tung said.

Meanwhile, student activist leader Chen Wei-ting (陳為廷) spoke against the freeze on Facebook, saying it would be an illogical move and like an ostrich burying its head in the sand in response to danger.

If the DPP were to agree to the freeze, it would need to brace itself to be replaced as the main opposition party, he said.

Additional reporting by CNA